How to Catch Snook

Saltwater Fishing Series – Tips for Catching Snook

Fishing for snook can be an immensely rewarding experience. Like bass, snook are renowned for the ways in which they fight back, offering a physical and mental challenge for any fisherman. These fish will jump, shake and dart around in a mighty effort to escape the line, and reeling one in can be considered a fine achievement.

Both novices and seasoned experts alike can always find ways to improve their techniques, so today we’ll be looking at some of our top tips for catching snook. If you want to increase the success rate of your own fishing expeditions, read on.

where to find snook

When and Where You Can Expect to Catch the Most Snook

The first, and perhaps most important, tip of the day is to be able to read or assess any given area, in order to determine the presence of feeding snook. A lot of anglers struggle and spend hours on end without a single bite because they’ve simply picked the wrong spot to fish in. You might think it seems difficult or even impossible to choose the right areas, but it really isn’t that complicated. There are three factors for you to consider: the current, the structure, and the presence of baitfish.

Let’s look at each of those factors a little more closely. First of all, the current. Snook are predatory fish; they remain still in one place and use big bursts of energy to leap out on their prey when the time is right. Therefore, they tend to spend much of their time in areas where the current is strong, as it will carry them along without any effort on their part.

Next, let’s talk about the structure you can expect to find snook in. As they like to pounce on their prey, they tend to hang around areas with structure as this gives them cover and also tends to be the best feeding ground. Finally, the presence of baitfish. If there are no baitfish in an area, the snook has no reason to be there. Look for signs of baitfish like little nibbles on your bait and ripples on the surface.

how to rig a pinfish for snook

Best Bait for Catching Snook

When you’ve find your ideal spot, you should also know that you don’t actually need to be using live bait. This is another key tip for catching this type of fish. Artificial lures are very useful when trying to reel in a snook, and you’ll save plenty of time that would otherwise have been wasted catching and preparing live bait.

Having tested out various methods, we can safely say that the spot you choose matters so much more than your choice of bait. You’ll see many other anglers using live bait, but you really don’t need to. Instead focus your efforts on finding the best areas and make sure you use the right gear.

best rig for snook fishing

Best Gear For Snook Fishing

Speaking of gear, our third tip is to use appropriate gear for the job. The key here is to use your head and only use the equipment that is relevant to the task at hand. If you’re using a 30lb leader on a 10lb main line in a tight area with strong current, you’re wasting your time as that gear simply isn’t right for the situation. At the same time, using lines and leaders that are heavier than they need to be will interfere with your cast. Consider the conditions of the area you’re fishing in and pick your equipment accordingly. We’ll give you a couple of examples. For areas with fast currents and structure, try a 30lb line and a 60lb leader. For docks with slower currents, we recommend a 20lb brain and a 40lb leader.

You’ll also need to think about the type of bait or lure you use. We’ve told you that live bait isn’t necessary, but if you do insist on using it then you should remember that snooks will change their feeding habits at different times of year. To determine the best bait to use, look at the actual fish that are in your spot. If you see plenty of pinfish, use some pinfish. Other common examples include pigfish, shrimp, mullet and grunts. If you’re going to use lures, choose an appropriate lure for the depth of the water. Shallow areas call for topwater plugs or hard plastic twitch baits, while deeper areas need heavy jigs and swim baits.

tips for picking the right boat to catch snook

Do You Have the Right Boat for Catching Snook

Our next tip concerns boats. A lot of people are under the misconception that snook fishing can only be done on a boat or a fancy kayak, but this really isn’t true. You don’t even necessarily need any sort of vessel or paddleboard to enjoy this activity, as snook often spend their time close to the shore.

You can enjoy beach fishing by simply walking along the coast, being sure to cast up into the current, as this will allow your lure to drift towards the snook, rather than away from them. We also recommend that you do your beach fishing at high tide, as the snook are often closest to the shoreline at this time. If you do want to get out on the waves, kayaks and paddleboards are perfectly suitable for this type of fishing.

night fishing to catch snook

Try Night Fishing

Our final tip of this article is to give night fishing a try. Snook do feed during the day, but their natural instinct is to hunt at night when they have a better chance of catching their prey unawares. At night, various baitfish will gather around docks, particularly in well-lit areas as they are drawn to the light. Snook will take this opportunity to feed, and you can also make the most of this opportunity by catching the snook when they least suspect it.

If you do go night fishing, we recommend ballyhoo as the ideal live bait, and you can test out a variety of artificial lures to see which one has the most success in your chosen spot. Naturally, we encourage you to pack proper equipment, including a powerful torch, and adhere to general safety rules when fishing at night, as it can be a dangerous activity.

About the author

Mike Paris

Mike is the editor of NWT Outfitters and as you may expect, an avid outdoorsman... When Mike isn't logged into the NWT backend, he's camping, climbing, hunting, fishing, or doing some combination of the four.

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